Throughout the the past weekend and into this week, I have watched and listened in amusement and amazement as pundits from both sides of the aisle discussed and debated the legitimacy and morality of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which has come to be known as the "Arizona Immigration Bill."
Last Friday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the controversial bill into law, and since that time we have witnessed a firestorm of fury from the left. The insanity and hyperbole from the left has been countered by a consistent and concise display of Constitutional understanding and reasonable discussion from the right, proving once again that liberals function within a realm of emotion while Conservatives operate from a perspective of the rule of natural law as it applies according to The United States Constitution.
I am not surprised at all by the reaction from the left. From "draconian" to "Gestapo-like," the left has portrayed Arizona's new law as a blatant excuse to racially profile. "Driving While Brown" has become the new catch phrase amongst some on the left to describe their hypothetical reason for possibly being pulled over by law enforcement.
Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles called the new law "Nazi and Soviet-style repression" in a blog - one full day before the State Legislators sent the bill to the governor's desk.
Huffington Post ran a headline calling calling the new law "harsh," while felon, friend of Obama, and Alinskyite Robert Creamer offered an Op-Ed on that site entitled "The Arizona of 2010 Is the Alabama of 1963."
The "Reverend" Al Sharpton has promised he will mobilize people from across the country to march in Arizona – and get arrested, if necessary – to stop the controversial new law.
“We will bring Freedom Walkers to Arizona just like Freedom Riders went to the deep south 50 years ago. [...] We cannot sit by and allow people to be arbitrarily and unilaterally picked off as suspects because of the color of their skin,” Sharpton said.And of course it came as no surprise that President Barack Hussein Obama chimed in, calling the new law "misguided," and called for Eric Holder and the Obama Social Justice Department to investigate the law for "violations of civil rights."
Some have tried to debate the law's legitimacy based on their personal and political desire for The Constitution to supersede this State law, based on the Supremacy Clause as found in Article VI, Clause 2.
However, this argument fails miserably, based on the fact that S.B. 1070 as written is completely derived from Federal Statute. In fact, Arizona legislators were extremely careful when writing this bill to require local and state law enforcement officers to act within the confines of their normal duties before any immigration status discussion may be discussed. Furthermore, every section in the bill (which is only 17 pages long) provides reference to the specific Federal Statute to which the Arizona law enforcement officers and departments must abide.
Others are claiming that there will be infringements on the Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights of citizens. These questions are easily answered by anyone with a reasonable amount of common sense and some understanding of The Constitution.
The closest either of these two questions come to being reasonable is when applying the Fourteenth Amendment to the child of two illegal aliens, with said child being born inside United States territory. However, Arizona S.B. 1070 refers specifically to The Immigration and Nationality Act, which provides no exceptions for the children of illegal aliens, regardless of their place of birth.
All of this being said, in my opinion the most important aspect of this debate is the perspective of Arizona residents who are American citizens. With that in mind, I would like to offer the story of some of my personal experience, as well as some insight from someone living at what is quickly becoming "ground zero" in the debate over illegal immigration.
When I moved to Arizona from Ohio in early 2001, Phoenix was an up-and-coming city with many inviting possibilities. In particular, Phoenix and its surrounding communities offered a very clean, upbeat, and exciting environment with a positive outlook and a great deal of opportunity to offer.
I moved to Phoenix, Arizona specifically because of the Native American and Mexican history and culture in the region. I had visited Phoenix just one year prior to moving, and had also spent some time in the Southwest as a child. I was very aware of the fact that my new surrounding were going to be quite different than that to which I was accustomed, and I welcomed those differences. In other words, and completely contrary to what leftists would like to believe, I specifically chose Phoenix for it's racial and cultural diversity.
Certainly every major city has its issues, but I was fascinated by the Phoenix metropolitan area's lack of undesirable element. With the exception of one particular part of town, there was almost nowhere within the greater Phoenix area where I felt uncomfortable, regardless of the time of day.
During my first couple of years living here, I thoroughly enjoyed some of the cultural differences I observed.
The style of the cars young Mexican men drive, while certainly not in line with my personal preferences, is certainly intriguing. They take great pride in their workmanship, and each creates his own rolling four-wheeled personality to match his identity.
As a younger, newly single man, I was quite flattered by the flirtations of the Mexican women with whom I worked at my first couple of workplaces. I was flattered as I was called "muy guapo," and I spent many hours during work exchanging the learning of Mexican dialect and the teaching of English to many coworkers, both male and female.
Mexican music can be quite festive, and on many a lazy summer afternoon I enjoyed one of my neighbors opening their doors and turning up their stereo. Filled with excellent vocal harmonies, pleasing guitars, horn sections, and pleasant rhythms, the words might have made no sense to me, but it was pleasant nonetheless.
Hispanic families and their social networks can be quite a sight to behold. Many of my neighbors had gatherings for children's birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and other celebrations. These gatherings can become quite festive and large. As an example, a couple in my last apartment complex had a son, and for his third birthday there were probably 100 people at his party. I don't know how many were family and how many were friends, but they all acted like family. They were all very polite within their group, and they were very courteous to me and my former girlfriend, even inviting us to come partake in the food and fun.
Unfortunately over the past few years things in Phoenix have changed, and not for the better.
A part of Phoenix in which I used to live just five years ago is now a part of town to which most people will not travel unless they absolutely must, and certainly anyone in their right mind avoids that part of town after dark.
A coworker describes his neighborhood as "somewhere I used to feel comfortable, but now I don't go out at night unless I'm packing (a firearm)."
I've discussed the new law with two of my coworkers who have Mexican heritage.
One coworker is a second generation man who is roughly thirty years old, and his father was granted amnesty in 1986.
He is very concerned about the image that is being created by the recent wave of aliens that have come across the border. His father, like almost all from his generation and those before his, made every effort to assimilate, and my coworker and his father both see this new generation of Hispanic immigrants as selfish and irresponsible, paying no mind to the good graces of America and her people and their good fortune for having made it here alive.
The other coworker is a woman in her mid to late fifty's, and her opinion seems to be very much the same. I don't know exactly how and when she came to America or if she was born here, but she has quite a thick accent so I suspect she may be first generation. Regardless, she speaks English very well, and has told me that she refuses to speak Spanish anywhere, no matter her surroundings.
I don't think anyone living in Phoenix really thinks twice about most of the "brown" people living among us. As has been discussed over and over, most of the people who have migrated north have done so for very understandable reasons. They come from a land with nearly no opportunity whatsoever, and now their homeland is being overrun by violent drug cartels, and the corruption has deeply permeated law enforcement at nearly every level in Mexico, with the sole exception of the military.
However, there are many reasons to be concerned about the massive influx of humanity being experienced by The Grand Canyon State.
Our police force is greatly overextended.
Rather than working with local law enforcement, former Arizona governor turned DHS secretary Janet Napolitano has worked against the needs of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Phoenix police. Recently Napolitano's DHS halted construction and forward progress on any type of border security, citing budget concerns.
Our public school systems are overcrowded and underfunded. This problem is certainly not unique to Arizona, but there is no doubt the number of illegals whose children attend American schools free of charge and without paying taxes is overwhelming the system.
Just as is the case nationwide, Arizona's emergency rooms are overcrowded and understaffed. Enactment of the various levels of ObamaCare will certainly do nothing but worsen this already disturbing situation.
Like all of America, property values in Arizona were certainly damaged by the recent financial collapse, but homeowners will find their investments regaining value at a ration less than the national average in some parts of the state, as certain neighborhoods and regions are becoming undesirable.
Arizona has the second highest rate of vehicle theft in the nation.
Also, while John McCain was not quite correct in his statement that illegals are driving around the highways just trying to cause accidents, he was thinking in the right direction. What I believe he was referring to is a very troubling situation that we witness far to often here. This situation is the event of an accident between a legal driver and an illegal alien, after which the illegal will jump from the vehicle and abandon it in an effort to avoid law enforcement. This, in addition to vehicle theft, is causing insurance rates to skyrocket. Carrying state minimum liability insurance in Arizona is more expensive for me than was carrying full comprehensive and collision insurance in Ohio.
Phoenix has the second highest rate of kidnappings per capita in the world. Fortunately this has contained itself to the gang and drug activity that is a byproduct of illegal immigration, but many believe it is just a matter of time before this crime spills over into the general population.
Polls are showing seventy percent of Arizonans agree with S.B. 1070, with similar numbers in agreement nationwide.
However, we should not concern ourselves with positive polling any more than we should be concerned by negative reporting and incendiary rhetoric from the likes of Sharpton, Jackson, Mahoney, or some pop starlet named Shakira who plans to speak to crowds here in Phoenix.
What we must be most concerned with is the rule of law, and our president's complete and total failure to respect the rule of law as it applies to this situation.
President Obama's posturing for political expediency is beyond reprehensible; it is immoral, and it is completely unbecoming of the Office of The Presidency.
President Obama's description of S.B. 1070 as "misguided" immediately reminded me of his stating that the Caimbridge Police "acted stupidly." His reactions are emotional and based on a political ideology, not based on facts or the rule of law.
Our president is supposed to be the leader of all Americans, not just the Blacks, Latinos, college aged youth, and single women with babies who need welfare assistance, which as shown by his latest YouTube video is clearly where he knows he can turn to find a base.
It makes no difference the color of a person's skin, or from what nation they arrived; if any person acts in a manner that is unlawful, Arizona S.B. 1070 gives law enforcement officials the right and responsibility to ask anyone with whom they have contact about their citizenship status - if that officer believes there is reason to suspect said person might be in The United States illegally.
Police might pull me over for speeding or a broken tail light just as easily as they could do the same to an illegal alien, or they might even pull over the embarrassing Congressman Raul Grijalva, a man who has made the ridiculous request of everyone outside Arizona to boycott the people he was elected to represent.
I understand that while it is not probable, it is a reasonable possibility that the officers might ask me to provide documentation beyond my driver's license to prove my citizenship. Of course I do not plan to carry my birth certificate with me everywhere I go, but I certainly would be proud to but federal law does require resident aliens to carry their Green Card with them at all times.
The bottom line is that we should never have selective "social" justice because of race, class, or gender. We should always have equal justice under the law.
America must not allow Congress and President Obama (or any other president, for that matter) to enact any type of "immigration reform" until we have absolute evidence from trustworthy sources that a barrier has been constructed completely across our southern border. In no way should this barrier be seen as discriminatory; instead it must be understood as a method of protection for the rights of the citizens of The United States of America.
The president and Congressional Democrats, with the assistance of their lackey media, will attempt to use immigration as a wedge issue in an effort to gain the support of Hispanics and independents until the November 2010 elections. We must all remember that it is simply for politics and additional voters that these people wish to strike down S.B. 1070 and enact any form of immigration reform at the national level.
Until a border fence is completely constructed reform means amnesty, and we must never lose sight of this fact.
This issue - the debate over immigration and Arizona S.B. 1070, is now the most important issue of our time.
Because of the law enacted by Arizona, we are about to begin one of the most important discussions in our nation's history. By the time this debate is done, we will have full understanding of whether we are a nation of Law as provided by The Constitution, or a nation of Men as desired by Progressives.